Are tablets the babysitters of the new millennium?

A SURVEY has revealed a third of under fives have got their own tablet as parents rely on technology to keep their children quiet.

Pre-school children already watch more than two-and-a-half hours of programmes a day on television, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Now there has been a surge in the number of young children with devices of their own as parents upgrade their tablets and hand old ones down.

The Correspondent was keen to discover if this pattern was repeated in Stalybridge so asked parents and grandparents collecting their children from Gorse Hall Primary.

Father-of-four Paul Tomlinson, 34, whose four children are aged between eight and 13, explained that all four have tablets.

“They have only had them recently. It is an expensive house and they only use them to play games,” he explained.

“When I was young we didn’t have such things and you can’t hold them back.”

Paul added only his eldest children have cheap £7 mobile phones so they can remain in contact when playing out.

Stephanie Normanton

Stephanie Normanton, 27, of Ridge Hill, says her eight-year-old son doesn’t have a tablet, but uses the one belonging to his parents.

“It is only for educational purposes using a maths or drawing app, and he only uses it now and again,” she explained.

“I think some children get them too young and it is the easy option to let them watch television rather than reading books. My son reads every day.”

Lisa Jeffers, 34, of Copley, says her son had a tablet for his eighth birthday and he uses it to Facetime friends.

“We know what he is doing and have rules as to what is allowed and what is not. I am strict.”

Lisa says her older boys only had mobile phones when they went to secondary school so she knew where they were.

Kath Jackson, 52, revealed her granddaughter had a tablet on her sixth birthday.

“She is only allowed to use it for one hour each day, but she was born in an age where everybody has this technology.”

Kath added her 16-year-old daughter is constantly attached to her phone.

Father-of-two David Rowbottom, whose sons are aged seven and 10, said his boys have had tablets since the age of five and six.

He said: “Times have moved on and you can’t hold kids back.

“I don’t see any problems as long as you restrict what they watch. They are not allowed on YouTube.

“Children shouldn’t be allowed mobiles until they are older, probably about 10.”

Jane Dickison, who says she is over 40,  gave her old tablet to her children.

“I see everything they watch and the apps downloaded are educational. They can use the apps better than me,” she said.

Charlie Laver, 40, says her children aged 11 and seven both have tablets.

She said: “They didn’t have them until they were seven years of age.

“We control strictly what they can do. It is a nightmare for parents.

“We have computer days – Monday, Wednesday and Friday and they are not allowed to use them in the bedroom.

“My daughter had a mobile when she was 11 and went to high school, but they are not allowed to use social media.”

And Danielle Davies, 34, says her seven and 10-year-olds were aged five when they had tablets.

“The apps they use are for learning purposes and we have parental controls,” she explained.


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